Hayden: “Top Five Not Possible Today”

Nicky Hayden - Photo Credit: Ducati
Nicky Hayden - Photo Credit: Ducati

Nicky Hayden
accepted that the Ducati GP11.1 wasn't quick enough to challenge the Yamahas or the Hondas on race day at Aragon, forcing him to settle for seventh. After their strong showing last year, the Italian squad were hopeful of closing the gap to the bikes ahead of them but Hayden faded after a bright start.

The former World Champion moved up to fifth early on but fell back behind Marco Simoncelli before losing sixth to Alvaro Bautista later in the race, and pinpointed the GP11.1's deficiency in the long final bend as the reason for his struggles.

“I had a good start and was decent at the very beginning. We knew tyre wear was going to be an issue, and we had a drop in performance after the first couple of laps. It lost grip, and I also wasn't able to load the bike well for turning. I was okay in parts of the track, but compared to the fast guys, I was losing time in the last corner. I hoped to hang onto the second group for a while, but it just wasn't possible.”

“I'd like to have fought with Bautista on the last lap because he was on our pace, but Barbera and I were going back and forth, which hurt both of us and let him escape. It's unfortunate, because coming here we hoped that we could put up a better fight. Still, this is the first race I've finished normally with the GP11.1, since at Indy I re-entered just to get points. Hopefully that will help us to get some data and be better off in the future.”

Team Manager Vittoriano Guareschi paid tribute to the American as he continues to work hard at developing the bike, despite riding without the updates fitted to Valentino Rossi's Ducati.

“Nicky and his team are trying extremely hard to gather as much information as possible on his GP11.1 which, despite not having the updated front chassis part like Valentino's, is still a new bike with a lot of margin for improvement with regards to its setup.”